Reduce gum disease with these 12 foods
Gum disease is a common problem that affects many New Zealand adults. Gingivitis, a mild form of the disease, often goes unnoticed. While gingivitis may not be painful, left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis, a destructive form of gum disease that isn’t reversible.
Good oral hygiene and professional dental care are key to treating early signs of gum disease, but did you know your diet plays an important part too?
A diet high in healthy foods works alongside good dental practices to help your body fight infections, keep your teeth and gums healthy and prevent gum disease.
Can you prevent gum disease with a healthy diet?
You can reduce your chances of developing gum disease with a healthy diet, but a good diet will not make up for poor oral hygiene habits. While food can work as medicine, even healthy foods like vegetables, protein, lean meats, and healthy fats can lead to plaque and tartar buildup if you don’t brush your teeth.
On the other hand, if you brush and floss daily but consume a diet high in processed foods, acids and sugars, you can still develop gum disease. This is because the right foods help nourish our bodies and give our bodies the building blocks they need to fight off bacteria. A healthy diet can make our teeth and gums stronger and healthier the risk of developing gingivitis.
Nutrients that help the treatment of gum disease
The right foods can nourish our oral microbiome, which helps our bodies fight gum disease. If you have gum disease, adding more foods that are rich in the following nutrients will help.
Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Our body requires Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) as an antioxidant for proper cell function. Studies show that people with high CoQ10 levels are less susceptible to gum disease. In fact, if you then develop gum disease, the concentration of CoQ10 increases in the gums to help slow inflammation.
Collagen is a protein that helps maintain connective tissue health, including the gums. When you have gum disease, the body reorganises tissue to manage inflammation. This leads to collagen degradation.
Catechins are phenols and antioxidants that help prevent gum inflammation and inhibit harmful bacteria, making them effective in treating gum disease.
Research shows that low levels of Vitamin C are associated with gum disease. By boosting the immune system, Vitamin C aids in fighting bacteria causing the disease and regenerating gum tissue. Additionally, collagen maturation requires Vitamin C, which helps maintain healthy periodontal ligaments and other tissues.
Beta carotene is a provitamin that the body converts to Vitamin A, and studies show that consuming foods rich in beta-carotene can aid in healing gum disease.
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and necessary for a healthy immune system. A study has indicated that a higher intake of Omega-3s is inversely associated with gum disease.
Adding foods high in these nutrients will help your body fight gum disease more effectively. So too, will removing harmful foods from your diet. Eating less sugar and refined carbohydrates will help your body fight gum disease.
The best foods to eat if you have gum disease
Bone broth is a good source of collagen, which is essential in fighting gum disease and for good tissue health.
Broccoli is rich in Vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant in the body and is inversely associated with gum disease. It’s also a good source of other nutrients.
Cacao is high in disease-fighting catechins, fights cavities, plaque, and tooth decay, and contains a compound that hardens enamel.
Capsicums (red and green):
High in Vitamin C, capsicum are an easy way to boost your daily intake. Red capsicum contains over 300% of your daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C, and green capsicum contains over 200%.
Chicken contains CoQ10 and collagen, both excellent in fighting gum disease. The skin is a great source of collagen.
Grass-fed beef is a good source of collagen, which is essential in fighting gum disease. It’s also high in omega-3s and free from inflammatory, disease-causing components found in grain-fed beef.
Green tea is high in catechins and has an inverse relationship with periodontal disease. It’s a great alternative to sugary drinks.
Salmon, herring, and mackerel are high in omega-3s and have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. They are also great for the immune system.
Omega-3-rich nuts and seeds:
Macadamia nuts, pistachios, and sesame seeds are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory effects on the body and an inverse relationship with gum disease.
Fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi support good bacteria in the mouth and reduce gingivitis and plaque buildup. They are also thought to suppress the growth of oral pathogens.
Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, which targets harmful gum disease-causing bacteria. They are also anti-inflammatory.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which reduces inflammation and provides the body with the elements it needs to create Vitamin A. They are also high in other nutrients.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of gum disease, book an appointment with Gentle Dental now.